Businesses are embracing the use of cloud computing at unstoppable rates, and the technology has risen as a new paradigm that has allowed technology companies to offer services to businesses and organizations through the cloud or, more plainly, from their own servers.
Cloud computing is booming business, as proven by the recent quarterly earnings posted by industry leaders AWS (Amazon) and Azure (Microsoft), with double digit growth in their operations.
In recent years, companies – even SMEs – looking for more flexibility, nimbleness and cost-effectiveness have starting to turn to cloud-based services, regardless of their productive sector.
The reasons for this shift vary enormously, and probably go far beyond than just the need for mass storage capabilities and a quick way to share files. That is why, government bodies are also starting to adopt the use of cloud technologies across their different organizations.
The cloud in public administration
The European Commission recently rolled out, as part of its European Digital Agenda, its strategy to “unleash the potential of cloud computing in Europe.” This program seeks to expedite and promote the use ‘cloud computing’ across the economy, raising productivity levels in European businesses and public administrations.
The Agenda emphasizes that, due to the economic potential of the cloud to boost Europe’s overall productivity, cloud computing can “become a powerful tool for growth and employment.”
In Spain, through the Digital Agenda for Spain, which seeks to address the challenges set forth by the European agenda, a number of initiatives have been rolled out, which target the cloud as an improvement opportunity.
As a result, in recent years, cloud usage has been on the rise. Some studies point at a combined adoption level of over 50% among U.S. SMEs. Here we take a quick look at some of the reasons that are driving businesses to embrace the cloud, and the advantages it brings.
1.- Mass storage
This is one of the main – and most obvious – reasons for using cloud computing. The amount of files and formats we handle grows on a daily basis. Companies work with graphic documents, presentations, prototypes, etc. and need large-capacity storage systems. Even the smallest businesses require gigantic storage capabilities to file their documents. Wasting one’s own servers on these duties has stopped making sense. Of course, this is also a great tool for administration and human resources departments.
Cloud computing companies are investing enormous amounts on security and that is why they are one of the safest bets from that point of view. The truth is that not even average-sized companies are capable of affording the tremendous investments that security requires. And even if they are, they will probably always be more vulnerable than a specialized company. Also, cloud service providers already have quality certificates and regularly undergo international audits.
Another reason why companies use cloud computing is to have ubiquitous access to all their files regardless of location, perfect for on-the-go employees, and companies with offices in different cities or areas. Also, today for many people, telecommuting has become a key means to balance their family and professional lives and the cloud has expanded the possibilities in this area.
Besides improving accessibility and mobility, the cloud model can help businesses improve their responsiveness and competitiveness levels and streamline operations. The use of cloud computing generates filing dynamics that are very hard to achieve through traditional models. The cloud boosts cooperation and improves engagement among teams, allowing them to work on shared documents and apps simultaneously. It helps keeps track of day-to-day business issues in real time.
5.- Cost savings
Cloud computing services are billed on a pay-as-you-go – i.e. monthly – basis, which does not require companies to face hefty upfront expenses in order to use them. The use of the cloud also entails lower infrastructure and maintenance costs, which in the case of companies working with legacy systems, can cause fixed-cost bills to skyrocket.
6.- Automatic updates
Cloud computing providers are responsible for all server maintenance tasks and security updates. Customers are usually notified of the updates, but are not required to make any investments.
Companies can choose the cloud computing services that best fit their needs. All they have to do pay the fee to start enjoying the service. Also, many services offer a free trial period and expansion capabilities, which allow users to increase the level of service they require at every point in time, paying only for what they actually use.
More than a reason per se, this point sums up all the foregoing, but in a more abstract way. The cloud is much more than just a tool to store files and enjoy other technology-related benefits. The cloud changes the way in which companies work, granting them more freedom, but always keeping control over all their resources.